2012 Farming Awards are launched
THE 2012 Farming Life and Northern Bank Awards were launched this week in the Walled Garden at Greenmount Agricultural College.
Representatives of Farming Life and Northern Bank were joined by sponsors and former award winners as details of this year’s event were confirmed.
The awards, which aim to highlight the very best of Northern Ireland agriculture, proved a resounding success in 2011 and this year it is hoped they can be bigger and better.
Belfast’s Ramada Hotel is the venue for the gala evening which will be held on Thursday, November 1.
There are more categories in this year’s awards with an additional award for FQAS Farmer of the Year, sponsored by the Livestock and Meat Commission, being added to the existing categories which include Dairy, Pig, Beef, Sheep, Poultry and Arable farmer of the year, Agri-Food Business, Machinery Company and Farm Supplier honours.
There are also special recognition award categories featuring an Unsung Hero Award, Farming Champion and Lifetime Achievement.
Speaking at the launch, Farming Life editor Ruth Rodgers said she was looking forward to the awards and was sure they would ‘fly the flag’ for Northern Ireland agriculture.
She said: “We were highly impressed at the calibre of the entries over all and we sincerely hope that those people who enter this year will also be able to demonstrate these same high standards. There was also a large number of entries from younger farmers which again showed that there is a bright future ahead for the industry. Farming Life is delighted that yet again the Northern Bank has agreed to come on board as principal sponsor and I would like to thank them for that continuing commitment and also for their input in last year’s event which was so pivotal to the success of the awards and the gala ceremony as a whole.
“A number of last year’s sponsors are supporting this year’s awards again, including the Ulster Farmers Union, Simple Power, Dunbia, Moy Park, and Fivemiletown Creamery. I think this demonstrates the value that these companies and organisations place on the awards and the opportunity it provides for them to communicate the positive role that they each play in the promotion of their own sector as well as the wider industry. I would like to thank them for the ongoing support and commitment to our awards.
“At the end of the day I see Farming Life’s role as promoting the industry to the benefit of all and these awards are just one way of doing that. We have a young generation which is losing its connection to the earth and anything which we can do to help promote the industry and educate people in urban areas about where their food comes from is a plus.”
Northern Bank’s head of agricultural relations John Henning said it was especially appropriate that the awards were launched at the Greenmount campus during the college’s centenary celebrations.
He said: “The inaugural awards last year were an undoubted success and provided a wide-ranging celebration of success and achievement in the agri-food industry – which was long overdue – and we were proud to play a part in helping to make that happen.
“We now have an industry where gross output from primary production is almost £1.5bn; where turnover from the food processing sector exceeds £3bn; which employs almost 7% of the work force and where students are opting in record numbers to pursue careers.
“Every day, along with many of my colleagues in our agribusiness team it is a privilege to meet hard-working, progressive farmers and business men and women, who demonstrate innovative talent and entrepreneurial flair on farms and in businesses right across Northern Ireland.
“At Northern Bank we are proud of our credentials as ‘the farmers’ bank’ and very conscious of the responsibility we have to continue supporting generations of farmers and businesses, by delivering dedicated relationship banking, as we have done in the past.
“Once again, in partnership with Farming Life, we are delighted to support these awards that showcase all that’s great about our agri-food industry, help recognise those individuals, families and businesses who are at the very top of their game, and celebrate their success.
“These awards are about ‘celebrating excellence in farming’ and across all of the farming and business categories, the competition seeks to recognise talent, entrepreneurship and excellence using a diverse range of considerations that should matter to all of those who make their living in this industry. But the role of these awards is not just about recognising and celebrating excellence but it’s also about promoting NI Agriculture plc to an increasingly critical audience. The challenges facing our industry are many and often driven by special interest groups with their own agendas. So we have questions around animal welfare, industrial farming, GM, the environment, pollution, rural access and so on. In most cases these aren’t issues at all but I believe these awards can help dispel some of those myths and deliver an even more positive image for the brand – NI Agriculture
“I’m also pleased to welcome on board the category sponsors who have joined us and recognise their valuable contribution to the ongoing success of the awards. It is also good to welcome along some of last year’s finalists as well.
“In addition to our sector awards we again have the Special Recognition categories which celebrate the achievement of those heroes and champions – our agricultural ambassadors - who do so much to promote the industry with energetic enthusiasm, but sometimes quietly and behind the scenes. And of course the climax of the Farming Life & Northern Bank Awards will again allow us to recognise a lifetime of achievement and contribution to the world of agriculture.
“So on behalf of Northern Bank – today represented by my Marketing colleague Kathryn Marshall and myself – can I commend the Farming Life & Northern Bank Awards to you. It is important that we build on the success of last year and with your support I know that can be achieved. We hope you will encourage even more entries from your colleagues, friends, neighbours, suppliers, customers and others – right across industry – and help us ALL celebrate Northern Ireland’s farming Life.”
Details of all sponsors will be featured in forthcoming editions of Farming Life starting next Saturday with the Livestock and Meat Commission.
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Weather for Belfast
Tuesday 21 May 2013
Temperature: 9 C to 13 C
Wind Speed: 13 mph
Wind direction: North west
Temperature: 5 C to 12 C
Wind Speed: 20 mph
Wind direction: North west